People are outraged with Petaluma High School’s administration after they cut the mic during their valedictorian’s speech at graduation for bringing up her sexual assault that occurred on school grounds.
Petaluma High School senior Lulabel Seitz was speaking at her high school’s commencement ceremony after being named the classes’ valedictorian on June 2nd when her mic was cut off midway through her speech. The 17-year-old told reporters that she was muted because she brought up an experience that occurred on school grounds during her four years at the high school.
According to the senior, who is attending Stanford University in the Fall, after making formal complaints to the staff at the school–they did nothing about the assault. They also requested that Seitz not mention the situation during the commencement ceremony.
Prior to her mic being muted, Seitz said:
“Because the class of 2018 has demonstrated time and time again that we may be a new generation, but we are not too young to speak up, to dream and to create change. Which is why, even when some people on this campus, those same people … ”
Her mic was then cut. She proceeded to move towards the corner of the stage and continue speaking–as classmates yelled out in protest to let the student speak. After the mic was cut, Seitz decided to continue her speech in a YouTube video and post it online.
Seitz told NBC, as well, that the person who sexually assaulted her faced no consequences and was in attendance at graduation. She claimed the censorship of her speech was “unfair.”
After the story went viral and the video was seen by many across the Internet, the Petaluma City School District issued a statement to KPIX about the indication that they had not responded to Setiz’s reports of sexual assault.
“We can say that when issues of sexual assault come to our attention, local law enforcement has initial jurisdiction and determines the course of action. If an alleged event happens off campus or on, we work to support our students with appropriate discipline, extensive counseling, and whatever measures we can take to protect our students while they are in our learning environment.”
After her story and video circulated the Internet, people were disgusted to see a school trying to silence a sexual assault victim who was trying to speak her truth and shed light on a reoccurring issue in society.
In her YouTube video, the teen who received a 4.0 GPA at Petaluma High School stated:
“The Petaluma High School administration infringed on my freedom of speech, and prevented a whole graduating class from having their message delivered. For weeks, they have threatened me against ‘speaking against them’ in my speech. Sometimes we know what’s right and have to do it despite the threats.”
We hear you, Lulabel, and we support you.